We often take the easy way out and just call Godzilla a monster movie, or kaiju in Japanese. But trying to classify it as either science fiction or horror forces an examination the specific elements that define the two genres. You add a level of difficulty if you lump in all the sequels. The staff at The Dissolve had a roundtable discussion on the question, and for simplicity’s sake, they mainly focused on the original 1954 version of Godzilla (although the sequels are discussed as well). And as is inevitable, Godzilla is compared to the 1933 movie King Kong, which also has its share of sequels. Tasha said,
On his own, King Kong is a tragic symbol of elemental nature, tamed, turned into a sideshow, and ultimately destroyed for rebelling against encroaching civilization. Godzilla is a more flexible symbol for whatever the age requires. But put them together and make them fight, and they stop being resonant, individualistic symbols, and start being kids’ toys being whanged against each other in a never-ending, not particularly weighty battle for supremacy. On his own, Godzilla is chilling; once Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, Gamera, and all the other goofiness comes into play, being a giant monster isn’t particularly special anymore.
The discussion ranges far and wide to settle the question, and in the end, makes me want to watch the 1954 film Gojira again before seeing the new Godzilla movie that will debut in theaters this coming Friday. -via Digg
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